Color Psychology: The Effect of Color on Your Mental Health

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Do you love staring at the ocean and feel calm looking at blue water? When you walk into room with red walls, does a restlessness jab at your insides? How about when you see bright green grass — do you immediately feel relaxed? Colors produce innate reactions and your responses to certain hues will impact your mental health. Experiment with color when redecorating a room, wearing clothes or picking out a particular accessory. Know the psychology of color to find the right fit for you.

What is the psychology behind color?

The use of color in our everyday world is an important topic. It influences how companies market their products, what choices are used to redecorate a space or even what you choose to wear to your next job interview. Although there aren’t volumes of research on the subject of color, studies do reveal there is a certain psychology behind every hue. Color’s influence is subjective, but certain hues offer universal meanings.

Cooler colors, like blue, green and purple are often known as calming, but also may conjure feelings of sadness. Red, oranges and yellows fall into the warm spectrum of the color scheme and maybe associated with warmth, comfort or hostility.

There is interesting evidence from various research about color. Exposing students to the color red before an exam hurt test performance. Installing blue streetlights reduced the amount of crime in a particular area. People who generally feel warm list cooler colors as their favorites, while individuals who tend to feel cold gravitate toward warmer colors. Additional research shows branding is influenced by color and companies use certain hues to target a given demographic.

What kind of emotions do common colors spark?

Do you want to feel optimistic about life? Try infusing some orange in your life. Orange is a fun, light color associated with healthy food, and it may stimulate your appetite. Yellow is similar to orange, since it is also a playful color. It is the brightest color to the human eye and you often see it in children’s toys. If you need a quick pick-me-up, experts recommend you focus on yellow.

Are people always urging you to relax? Green might be the best color to help calm your nerves. It is associated with health, spiritual wellness and carries a healing power. Similarly, do you notice a lot of blue in airports and hospitals? This is purposeful, because blue is a calming color which also indicates intelligence and creativity. Blue elicits a soothing feeling. Looking to feel like royalty? Purple is associated with kings, but also adds a depth of mystery, opulence and prestige. Walk into a cocktail party in a purple dress, and you may keep strangers guessing.

Red is a strong color which appears on traffic signs as a warning. It evokes powerful emotions and may lead people to feel more alert and agitated. Black and white colors also cause strong emotions. Black is historically seen as evil and may bring on feelings of sadness. It is often used to portray death, while white offers a sense of purity, innocence and peacefulness.

How do you use color to influence your mental health?

Knowing the meanings behind certain colors will help improve and influence your mental health. Recreate a nostalgic feeling from your childhood room by searching Shutterstock for wall patterns and graphics of your choice to use to redecorate. Revisiting your past and using colors important to you throughout your life will solidify positive emotions.

Are you eager to relax when you get home? Try finding a space where you are able to infuse blue or green in the color scheme. Using this as a focus point for meditation will help calm your nerves. In the same vein, if you are feeling sad, focus on brighter colors like yellow or orange. Spend time outdoors and stare at the green grass or bask in the sun.

Want to nail your job interview and go in with authority? Wear a black business suit to help you exercise your intelligence and presence.

Ultimately you will prefer certain colors because of what emotions it stirs in you. Those are the colors demanding your attention and you have the power to decide how to use them to your advantage.

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Stacy Karen

Stacy is a DIY obsessed, healthy living advocate. A preacher's wife and mom of three, she loves to encourage others to live a natural lifestyle.

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